A new survey from the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI) has Andrew Gillum with an inside-the-margin lead in the race to be Florida’s next Governor.
The poll shows Gillum with 41 percent of the vote, with DeSantis at 39 percent. The remaining 15 percent of voters were undecided, leaving some room for growth for each candidate.
“Florida continues to be a sharply divided state,” said Kevin Wagner, professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the Initiative. “When races are this close, it is often enthusiasm and turnout that make the difference.”
DeSantis may face an added hurdle if this race comes down to turnout. Recent reports say President Donald Trump is unhappy with DeSantis’ rebuke of the President’s remarks regarding the death toll in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. DeSantis, however, questioned that narrative on Wednesday.
“I don’t think anything has changed. I think we’re good,” he said.
DeSantis’ primary win over Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was largely seen as a result of Trump’s endorsement of DeSantis.
And Trump’s grip on the Republican Party base means he could have sway over Republican turnout come November. Whether Trump’s anger will linger and lead to a tamping down of support for DeSantis remains to be seen. If there is a gap between DeSantis and “the big man himself,” there’s plenty of time to bridge the divide, and if past is prologue, a Democratic lead in September often results in a Republican win in November.
Still, the lead for Gillum in the FAU BEPI poll matches other surveys which have shown the Democrat ahead. That includes another poll released Wednesday morning from Reuters/Ipsos/UVA Center for Politics. The latter poll, conducted online, showed Gillum with a 50-44 percent lead, which was outside the poll’s 4 point margin of error.
FAU BEPI’s survey was conducted Sept. 13-16 and sampled 850 likely voters. That margin of error was listed as 3.3 percentage points.